MO - St. Louis Priest to be Deposed
For immediate release
TODAY, Tuesday, July 20
For more information
David Clohessy 566 9790, 645 5915
Barbara Dorris 862 7688
He's St. Louis' Most Notorious Molesting Cleric,
Facing At Least 17 Pending Civil Lawsuits
Family of Suicide Victim Suing Him & Church For Wrongful Death
Son Was Molested By Priest, Became Depressed, Then Killed Self
Attorneys representing men and women have filed civil sex abuse lawsuit against a St. Louis priest will for the first time question the cleric today under oath.
Father Michael S. McGrath, who now lives on Hawthorne Place in Richmond Heights, is scheduled to be deposed this morning at 10 a.m. It is expected to last several hours.
McGrath, has thus far faced no criminal charges. "But we strongly hope that more of his victims will file police reports and that police and prosecutors will vigorously pursue this dangerous man," said Barbara Dorris of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "He is, by far, the most prolific molesting clergyman in this area."
SNAP leaders are especially hopeful that a new state appeals court ruling, which enables delayed prosecution of child molesters, "will mean that someday McGrath will be behind bars, where he can't hurt kids anymore," said David Clohessy, SNAP's national director.
In the first lawsuit of its kind in Missouri, a St. Louis family whose son was molested by McGrath and committed suicide has taken a legal action against McGrath and the St. Louis Archdiocese
Between 1984 and 1988, Christopher Klump belonged to St. Bernadette's parish in South County. During part of that time, McGrath was assigned to nearby St. Simon's parish, but became better acquainted with the family when he performed the oldest daughter's wedding ceremony. McGrath began taking the young boy on outings and repeatedly sexually abused him.
As a result of the abuse, Chris struggled with depression. On March 2, 2003, he committed suicide by taking a cocaine overdose and was found dead in a downtown hotel. He had been a student at UM-St. Louis and had served five years in the Marines. On June 10 of last year, Chris' parents, Allan and Barbara Klump of South County, sued McGrath. The suit is pending in St. Louis City Circuit Court.
McGrath was ordained in 1975 and worked in Florissant (St. Ferdinand's, 1976-78), Wentzville (St. Patrick's, 1979-81), Overland (All Souls 1982-83), Concord Village (St. Simon's, 1984-88), Pagedale (St. Catherine of Sienna, 1990), and Bridgeton (St. Mary's, 1991-96). From 1997 until 1998, he was not was listed in the Official Catholic Directory. McGrath now lives on Hawthorne Place in Richmond Heights. He is a former Bi-State bus driver.
SNAP leaders have repeatedly but unsuccessfully urged the archdiocese to:
- go to each of the parishes where McGrath was assigned, and publicly tell lay people that it is their civic duty to reach to report any suspected sex crimes to police and prosecutors.
- tell lay people that it is their Christian duty to reach out to current and former parishioners, asking them if they were abused and encouraging them to seek counseling or contact SNAP
- urge all archdiocesan employees to share what they know about McGrath with police, prosecutors, McGrath's current and prospective employers, McGrath's neighbors, and anyone else who could protect children from him
- turn over all material in his personnel file and other church records to police and prosecutors
- use The Review and all parish bulletins to get the se messages out.
Attorneys representing McGrath victims include:
Pat Noaker of St. Paul 612 961 1307 cell, 651 227 9990 work
Ken Chackes & Susan Carlson of St. Louis 314 872 8420
Rebecca Randles of Kansas City 816 510 2704 cell, 913 628 8700 work
(Randles will NOT be part of the deposition.)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.